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Sunday, March 20, 2022

No. 4 seed Providence up next for top-seeded Kansas in NCAA Tournament

Providence forward Noah Horchler reacts after making a 3-point shot against Richmond during the first half of a second-round NCAA men's basketball tournament game on March 19, 2022, in Buffalo, N.Y.

Providence forward Noah Horchler reacts after making a 3-point shot against Richmond during the first half of a second-round NCAA men's basketball tournament game on March 19, 2022, in Buffalo, N.Y.

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The top-seeded Kansas men's basketball team's run in the NCAA Tournament continues Friday when it faces No. 4 seed Providence in the Sweet 16 at United Center in Chicago.

Kansas defeated No. 9 seed Creighton 79-72 on Saturday after surviving a late challenge from the undermanned Bluejays, who went with a six-player rotation until the outcome was settled in the final minute. Fifth-year senior guard Remy Martin had 20 points, seven rebounds and four assists and redshirt sophomore forward Jalen Wilson had 14 points and 14 rebounds.

Providence, led by Big East Coach of the Year Ed Cooley, advanced to the Sweet 16 by defeating No. 12 seed Richmond 79-51 in Buffalo, New York, on Saturday. Five players reached double figures in scoring for the Friars, with Noah Horchler, a sixth-year senior transfer from North Florida, finishing with 16 points and 14 rebounds.

Here's what you should know about Providence heading into the Sweet 16 matchup.

Record: 27-5; 14-3 Big East

Located: Providence, Rhode Island

Qualification: At-large bid; finished first in Big East

Coach: Ed Cooley (11th season; 221-140)

Top players: Fifth-year senior center Nate Watson (13.5 points per game, 5.3 rebounds per game); fifth-year senior guard Al Durham (13.3 ppg, 3.4 assists per game); redshirt junior guard Jared Bynum (12.6 ppg, 4.1 apg); sixth-year senior forward Noah Horchler (9.9 ppg, 8.5 rpg, shoots 45.4%).

NCAA Tournament appearances: 21st; last in 2018, a loss to Texas A&M; in the first round.

Strengths: Opponents are shooting 41% against Providence this season, including 47% from 2-point range and 30.3% on the perimeter. The Friars are good at getting to the free throw line and good at making a lot of foul shots, but they are only an above-average free throw shooting team. They average 15.3 points per game on 21 foul shots for a free throw shooting percentage of 72.9. At 112.0, they rank 32nd in adjusted offensive efficiency, according to KenPom.com, and 28th at 111.8, according to Bart-Torvik.com, meaning they would score that many points in 100 possessions against an average Division I opponent. Providence has won 11 games by five or fewer points, showing that it knows how to finish.

Weaknesses: The Friars are an average team in nearly every major offensive statistical category. They score 71.8 points per game (123rd in Division I), make 43.8% of their shots (163rd) and average 13.3 assists per game (131st). In three of their five losses, they were outscored by at least 18 points.

Notable wins: At Wisconsin, 63-58; Texas Tech, 72-68, Creighton, 72-51.

Notable losses: Virginia, 58-40, in Newark, New Jersey; at Marquette, 88-56; Creighton, 85-58, in the Big East tournament.

Three points

1. Dream season: Cooley has the Friars in the Sweet 16 for the first time since 1997, when they reached the Elite Eight but lost to Arizona in overtime, and they reached that stage following their largest margin of victory in an NCAA Tournament game. "That was as well as we've played all year, and we picked the right time to do it," Cooley said after the game. Providence was the Big East regular-season champion for the first time, but that success did not translate to the conference tournament as it was throttled by Creighton in the semifinals. After the first-round victory over South Dakota State and the win against Richmond, the Friars are set for their toughest challenge of the season in Kansas.

2. Significant experience: Providence has five graduate students, three of whom transferred in, and its nine-player rotation includes only one underclassman in sophomore guard Alyn Breed. Leading rebounder Noah Horchler, in his sixth season, is in his second year at Providence after three at North Florida and one at Eastern Florida State, a junior college. Fifth-year senior guard Al Durham transferred from Indiana, fifth-year senior forward Justin Minaya is a transfer from South Carolina and junior guard Brycen Goodine transferred from Syracuse.

3. All of the luck: The Friars are No. 1 in KenPom.com's "luck rating," which the site explains as the deviation in winning percentage between a team's record and its expected record. Essentially, Providence is winning games that it shouldn't be; it won 11 games by five or fewer points this season, including a pair over teams that are No. 3 seeds in the NCAA Tournament — Wisconsin and Texas Tech. Cooley has, predictably, leaned into that notion as a sign of disrespect. "The more the narrative on doubt and luck and this and that, yeah, it plays on you," he said after the win against Richmond. "The players will come in the locker room and talk about it, and I tongue-in-cheek it a little bit, but, you know, you got some older guys out there just willing to try to compete for respect. I don't have to be liked, but I'll be damned if you're not going to respect me."

Comments

Benjamin Shear 3 months, 2 weeks ago

Creighton just beat Providence by almost 30. We just beat Creighton. Do we even need to play this game?

Darrel Stice 3 months, 2 weeks ago

Surely you didn't just say that. First of all, this is a team that beat TTU. Secondly, you should respect and be ready for every opponent, especially in this tournament. We barely beat a shorthanded Creighton team yesterday. Anyone can beat anyone in this tourney!

Jonathan Allison 3 months, 2 weeks ago

Providence just beat Creighton by 21 points back on Feb 26. We only beat a shorthanded Creighton by 7.

Kansas has their work cut out for this on Friday.

Eliott Reeder 3 months, 2 weeks ago

Benjamin... I totally agree, let's just skip the next couple and go straight to title game! ;)

Dale Rogers 3 months, 2 weeks ago

Apparently, the shortest Providence starter is 6'4". How might their overall height affect us?

Tony Bandle 3 months, 2 weeks ago

The taller they are the harder they fall...our something like that. PS It would be great if you had a relative named Roy and a pet named Trigger. :)

Dale Rogers 3 months, 2 weeks ago

LOL? How do you know I don't? Or, rather, didn't! LOL And what if my maiden name was "Evans"? But I'm a guy and don't have a maiden name.

Rodney Crain 3 months, 2 weeks ago

The win vs TT was by 4 pts. and Tech was called for 29 fouls, 2 starters fouled out 2 others with 4. This was at Providence on 12-1-21.

We should win this game, it might be close though. I like the way we are playing, we do not blink at the end of close games. It will be interesting to see when or if Coach goes small.

Keep in mind Creighton had Kalkbrenner their center who did not play against us. He had 15pts, 9 rb, and 4 blocks vs Providence in the blowout win.

Providence beat Creighton playing at home by 21 pts 4 games ago, before being blown out by them by 29 a few games later.

William Leoni 3 months, 2 weeks ago

“We played him when he was at Arizona State and I was just talking to my coaching staff in the locker room, his growth and improvement from the guy that was playing at Arizona State to the guy that is playing now is night and day. His engagement defensively compared to how he defended at Arizona State, the unselfish nature of the way he is playing is totally different than the guy we played against at Arizona State. Obviously Coach Self and the staff have done a great job at getting him to understand how he can best help this team…..He was a big difference in this game.”

-Greg McDermott on Remy Martin, 03/19/2022.

Now if only he could work on those “missed rebounds!” 😂

Robert Brock 3 months, 2 weeks ago

The game will be an ugly, stomach-churning, nail-biter.

Edward Daub 3 months, 2 weeks ago

Memo to Zac Boyer. Please add the Providence win over Creighton to your "Notable Win" list.

You are giving KU Fans "false hope" by only showing their Creighton loss.

Also, two of Providence losses this year were close games with Villanova.

Trust me, Providence is a very good team. KU has to play well!

3 months, 2 weeks ago

we need och to step up now. he has another 2pt half werea get bounced, quick. we lucked out w remy. we have 2 big12 POY on our squad. huge. juan needs to hit the gym & put up shots. these prov guys have nothing to lose & will whip our buts if we go out complacent again. need gamers. remy is a gamer. och, in the 2 biggest games of the year, has been subpar. if he wants that high draft pick, thats gotta change. be nice to see a lob or two to him against prov. & dmack, for gods sake just play average ball for us. no expectations. prov +7 ez cover as theyre playing w a chip on their shoulder. us, not quite. interesting cooley lost to the same cat squad in '97 that we did. play free & have fun guys!! have fun! och was not havin fun on sat. just believe! rcjh

Brad Watson 3 months, 2 weeks ago

"94ft. of Hell !!!!!! ....GOOD LUCK!!!!!

Steve Zimmerman 3 months, 2 weeks ago

We could definitely use Cam in this team. I'm really not convinced with "he's not ready" bs. Bonner played 30min for BU in the tourney, Hawkins - well, y'all watched how effective of a player he was for Creighton, giving us a scare. I really think we could use as many scorer as we can. I don't think our program is really good in planting confidence in these guys. Look at Joe, a man that's capable of delivering 20pts in previous tourney. Where is he this year? Playing at this stage, not a lot of players are ready. But guys who've been there, damn.. they're precious. Just sayin'.

Jonathan Allison 3 months, 2 weeks ago

Cam's only got one shot and he taking it next year when he doesn't have to compete for PT with Sr. DMac and super Sr. Mitch.

It gives him more time to learn the Kansas way and to get himself in peak physical fitness.

Frankly he is gambling on the opportunity for more PT next year. Much the same reason as Mitch redshirting a few years back and Travis Releford, Brady Morningstar, Connor Teahan, even a few more years back.

Ted Hume 3 months, 2 weeks ago

Cam is not gambling on the opportunity for PT next year in any way, shape, or form. If a player redshirts, it's 100% because coach Self decided. No player at KU makes that decision. It's the coaching staff's call. Don't be confused about who calls all of the shots about eligibility, transfer, playing time, development schedule, etc. This is 100% Coach Self's program. He decides everything.

Steve Zimmerman 3 months, 2 weeks ago

Agreed..

He was a finalist for the Bevo Francis Small College Basketball Player of the Year Award after being named first-team All-MIAA, All-Region and All-American while also being a member of the MIAA All-Tournament Team... Led the MIAA in scoring, rebounds, defensive rebounds, double-doubles, free throw attempts, free throws made, total field goals made, total points and total rebounds, while ranking second in blocks, field goal percentage, total blocks and total field goal attempts. Averaged 24.1 points, 9.2 rebounds and 2.0 assists per game while shooting 58 percent from the field and 81 percent from the free throw line...

Sounds very ready to me.

Ted Hume 3 months, 2 weeks ago

I mean, we all understand that overwhelming odds are Cam never plays a minute in a KU uniform. Self grabbed him as a back-up insurance policy for a year. Absolute Best case scenario is, yeah, he becomes Mitch next year: a seasoned super-senior who can give some Decent minutes of sub duty, but most likely he transfers out to get some final PT elsewhere. New reality of college hoops…

Allin Herring 3 months, 2 weeks ago

Agbaji needs to really show up to this tournament. We will meed a much better showing than 7-15

John Strayer 3 months, 2 weeks ago

This! Och has had several games in a row now where he as been "solid"...but not All-American. His NBA trial advice was to be more aggressive, which he was during most of the regular season. Now that the bright lights are on and the world is watching, he needs to go back and capture that aggressiveness.

Chad Smith 3 months, 2 weeks ago

at this point. everybody just needs to raise their game. EVERYONE. KU can beat Providence. rise up to the moment and embrace it. LETS GO!

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